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British APCO and The Radio Amateur’s Emergency Network sign MOU during The Annual Exhibition & Development Sessions
The Memorandum of Understanding sets a framework for mutual co-operation in the interest of public safety.
On the 16th of April British APCO President Alan House and The Network Chairman Cathy Clark signed an MOU that recognised the common objectives of both organisations in the promotion and influencing of public safety, civil contingency, information management and communications technologies.
In the Memorandum of Understanding RAYNET is identified as “The Network”, and in addition to the MOU a Schedule of Agreements is included which sets out some of the ways in which both organisations will work together, including networking opportunities and invitations to attend management meetings; website content sharing; joint working and sharing of publications; and engaging The Network in regional and national events.
Operations Manager at British APCO Colin Millar, commented: ‘Chris Hampson from The Network and Peter Prater from British APCO were responsible for initiating the process following a brainstorming session two years ago. This resulted in the original draft documents which in turn led to the production of the final version as signed by British APCO and RAYNET.
‘The British APCO Executive is keen to develop the MOU concept,’ added Colin, ‘and it is anticipated that further similar agreements will be signed of at future annual events, with other like-minded voluntary sector organisations.’
RAYNET – introduction to who we are and what we do
RAYNET (The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed radio amateurs.
The organisation was formed in 1953 following the East Coast floods, when radio amateurs provided emergency communications.
We can provide a flexible communications service for major civil emergencies or related exercises and local community events. We offer a means of interoperability between the statutory User Services and voluntary organisations.
RAYNET has provided additional communications at major incidents involving aircraft, trains, flooding, evacuations, telephone exchange failures, missing persons searches, adverse weather, oil/chemical pollution etc. Examples include:
- Severn Tunnel incident
- Gloucester and Cumbria floods
- Sea Empress oil pollution disaster
We have also provided safety communications for large-scale community events, such as:
- Cycle rides
- Long-distance walks and orienteering
- Endurance horse rides
- Triathlons and Ironman events
- Overnight hikes and walks
RAYNET volunteers normally use their own equipment to provide communications. Voice transmissions are the norm, but typed messages in the form of data transmissions are being increasingly used, allowing 100% accurate messages to be passed over both long and short distances.
In some areas, experimentation is also under way with the use of vehicle-tracking systems and amateur television.
RAYNET, under the terms of the amateur radio licence, is permitted to pass messages on behalf of Category 1 & 2 Responders, as specified in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
- Any UK Police force, Fire & Rescue service or Ambulance trust.
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency
- All principal Local Authorities
- Any health body
- Any government department or agency
- British Red Cross
- St John Ambulance
- St Andrew’s Ambulance Association
- Salvation Army
- Any utility service
RAYNET comprises a national network of local groups, who liaise with emergency services, local authorities and other voluntary agencies who could be involved in the integrated management response to major civil emergencies.
Groups are supported by a county/regional, zonal and national structure.
All registered members of The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network whilst on duty are covered by Combined Liability and personal accident insurances under policies held nationally by the Network.
Groups work with the emergency services and local authority emergency planning units on both live exercises and table-top simulations.
It is, of course, important to have “hands on” experience regularly and throughout the year and to carry out training to nationally agreed standards.
RAYNET personnel provide additional safety communications for local fun runs, marathons, car rallies and a wide variety of events, whereby message passing, engineering skills and operational procedures can be tried and tested.
In times of major civil emergency, existing communications can become rapidly overloaded. RAYNET can offer:
- Additional flexible communication links to complement established systems
- Members who come from a variety of backgrounds and can bring with them a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise
- Established local contacts
- A national 24hr emergency contact telephone number (03030 40 10 80)
If you want further information on RAYNET, please contact us at:
The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network